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Breakdown: Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky


Welcome back, Big Blue Nation. This is part two of a three-part weekly series that will come at you every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of a game week. Wednesdays will be a flashback of the series history with the opponent of that week, Thursdays will be a statistical breakdown of the two teams head-to-head, and Friday will feature a scouting report with more detailed player vs. player matchups.

Unfortunately with this being the first game of the season, I have no stats to work with, so for this one I’m doing something a little bit different. We all know Western Kentucky pulled off the upset last year in Commonwealth Stadium — if you can even call it an upset in hindsight. And the Hilltoppers retain a lot of talent, especially on defense, of that team that knocked off the Cats. This is a quick representation of what Kentucky will be faced up against versus the team that won last year.

In the following weeks you will see something much different than what is here, and it will include a lot of side-by-side comparisons of Kentucky and its opponent that week. Obviously as the season progresses this post will become more and more detailed.

If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see in the future, let me know.

Wednesday: Flashback


Bobby Petrino has named a sophomore quarterback, rated as a three-star out of high school, the starter against Kentucky. He has a tall order replacing Kawaun Jakes who was instrumental in putting the Hilltoppers program on the map. Brandon Doughty comes in having thrown just three passes in his career, and will be called upon in Petrino’s spread-it-out and air-it-out offense to sling it around constantly.

In this week one game, however, it seems likely that running back Antonio Andrews will receive the bulk of the offensive load, if for no other reason than to allow Doughty to get his sea legs for the rest of the season.


Advantage in the quarterback battle may have easily gone to the Wildcats, if not for Max Smith’s four interceptions last season against the Tops. How much that stat comes into play with a new year, a new set of coaches, and a new philosophy remains to be seen.

Whoever gets the majority of the snaps, whether it’s Smith or Jalen Whitlow, both quarterbacks have proven themselves under fire in conference games and if the coaches have anything to say about it, both have clearly earned their chance in practice. No matter what, the UK offense will have a solid leader under center.


Senior Antonio Andrews returns as one of the top backs in the Sun Belt Conference. Last year he got the ball 34 times and collected 125 yards on the ground against the Cats; not a dazzling performance by any means, but it was more than enough to keep the UK defensive front honest. It allowed Jakes to throw for 160 yards over the top on just 16 completions, too.

He is easily the Hilltoppers feature back and there likely will not be too much platooning in this one, if there is you will see Leon Allen. However, you don’t need to be told the Wildcats boast a ferocious defensive line, with Bud Dupree and Za’Darius on the corners, sandwiching the big boys Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph. Andrews will have to navigate through a lot of meat if he wants to find daylight to run.


The Hilltoppers lose leading receiver Jack Doyle from a year ago, but keep their No. 2 and No. 3, specifically Willie McNeal and Antonio Andrews. The Wildcats secondary is scary thin, so barring a completely disastrous game from new quarterback Brandon Doughty, expect the wide outs to get respectable yardage. Again, like the run game, the Hilltoppers will key on Andrews in short yardage, so the Wildcats linebacker corps will need to keep their eyes peeled for the play action, slip screens, and rollouts to the flat.

The Wildcats will counter the passing game with what is most likely its weakest unit on the field, offense and defense combined. A pair of sophomores and a true freshman will get time at corner back, and a pair of juniors will line up at safety. It’s not necessarily those starting that will be the biggest problem, it’s the depth.

Maybe Western won’t have the man power to exploit the holes down the line, but other teams will. Keep an eye out for who is rotating in and out, and how often.


The Hilltoppers defense, which picked off Max Smith four times in the game last year, returns a big chunk of what made them successful last year, including linebackers Andrew Jackson and Xavius Boyd, safety Jonathan Dowling, and defensive backs Kiante Young, and Tyree Robinson.

Where the Hilltoppers are weak is defensive line. Its top five linemen from last year are gone, and a whole lot of new faces are coming in to fill the spaces. That means the Wildcats running game will need to poke holes in every direction, because the secondary and zone defense in the box will be thick for the passing game. It is vital that Raymond Sanders and the offensive line keep moving the ball forward to suck the WKU defensive backs down to open up the air raid over the top. The biggest hole in the reasonably good Western defense is the front four, although there is decent potential for the young players to really develop as the year goes on.


Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

19 Comments for Breakdown: Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

  1. TorpedoVegas
    5:04 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Is UK playing WKU this weekend? I couldn’t really tell from the 250th article about the damn thing. Enough!

  2. DH
    5:14 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    TorpedoVegas, What do you expect them to talk about?? I think most people that read the site WANT to know about the game. You can go back and read some of the Bachelorette posts if it makes you feel better

  3. KT67
    5:27 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with #1. It’s a bit of an overkill at this point.

  4. numbers game
    5:29 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    i think if we score more points we will win

  5. This may be the longest name that I could possibly think of given the couple of minutes that I had to come up with it while on my computer at the end of a very exciting Thursday in a small town in central Kentucky at roughly 5:30 p.m. so maybe I should ju
    5:30 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Is it me, or is the information from the charts backwards? Maybe I’m just not looking at it correctly, but shouldn’t the colors be reversed. Like the first chart, WKU’s quarterback experience. Should the green color be at the 100% mark or at the 0% mark? Just curious. Other then that, GREAT WRITE UP.

  6. 3 fan
    5:39 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    I think most readers here are wayyyy beyond sick of haring and reading about this game. Enough already!!!!

  7. Don'tLikeItDon'tReadIt
    5:48 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    you guys are joking about wanting them to stop talking about the game, right? Just trollin, trying to get people worked up? I mean it is the first game of the season and the only major college sport going on right now, so surely you all aren’t stupid enough to think they need to be writing about something else. It’s so easy to scroll past a post if you aren’t interested in reading it so I know you all are just joking. I will admit that this post seems a little BTIish so it isn’t one of the best posts of the day, but we appreciate having football to read about.

  8. BigBlueSexMachine
    6:10 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    I’m ready for the game just so we can stop reading about it. I aappreciate all you guys do but goodness, this is becoming Espn/Tebow

  9. BigBlueSexMachine
    6:14 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    @7 aren’t you just a hero. How bout people express their opinions anyway they like about anything they want.

  10. NoJoke
    6:14 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    7) There are way too many posts about this game.

  11. JC
    6:46 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t mind the articles about Western, but this is the 52nd statistical breakdown of Western this week. Then you throw in Leach. Maybe everyone should just communicate who’s doing the statistical breakdown this week. Most have been good, but we have had several repeats. I appreciate all the work, but 8 a day is a bit much.

    And Western breakdowns are turning into Clowney/ESPN for a more recent example.

  12. Don'tLikeItDon'tReadIt
    7:16 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    9 You mean like how I expressed my opinion anyway I liked, anyway I wanted? Are you trying to tell me I can’t? I didn’t say you all can’t, I just said your opinions are stupid…just like I liked and wanted.

  13. Hey!
    7:34 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    They just put up another UK v WKU post! MY GOD.

  14. Joe
    7:34 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Again, just scroll on past….WHAT ELSE is there to write about?

    Sure the SEC Men’s & Woman’s Soccer Season has begun so too, apparently, the Woman’s Volleyball Season…

    Would you all care to hear about THEM? Really?

    Or how about looking for the Twins, or Randle or some other basketball recruit, that would be interesting, “Look the Twins at Orange Leaf!” Or endless speculation concerning the Twins or James Young prospective academic/NCAA eligibility….and the latest rumour spawned on a UoL website about how there are “questions/concerns” about their recruitment or there eligibility or whether they took their own SAT’s…wouldn’t that be WONDERFUL?

    Or how about endless speculation about the 2014 Class and then even better, speculation about where the 2014 Class will go in the 2015 Draft? Be still my heart….

    Look the only major UK Sport playing, right now is…well NO ONE, but one will be playing in about 2 days…what ELSE is there to write about? Is this team and its staff worse than, equal to, better than Joker? Have we turned the corner, we begin to find out this week end…and against a coach who wants to beat us and really needs to do very well to salvage his career, who has coached a rival team that bested us, repeatedly. It’s a great story line, so what else would you have a KENTUCKY SPORTS SITE talk about?

  15. ???
    7:39 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Recycling the same posts over and over again is a great way to keep people interested.

  16. CATandMONKEY
    8:31 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Despite the faux protestations, you care if you bothered to post.
    Two days prior to season opener with a new coach…..perhaps we should be reading about our tiddlywinks championship run.

  17. Homework
    9:00 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Um, Doughty has thrown 24 passes in his career. Not that it matters, but you could try getting things right.

  18. Mike
    9:25 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    You may want to re-check your facts. Doughty for WKU has thrown more than 3 passes. See this box score from 2011: He was 12/21 for 102 yards in this game against Navy. He threw 3 passes last season.

  19. Chris Harrison
    11:44 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Appreciate the article but please have mercy on us color blind folks, you know, the 8-12% of males who can’t tell red from green. Your stat bar graphs are pure torture. Just sayin… red juxtapositioned with green, please.